20/04/2017 at 15:04 #60906
AKA, “Phantoms Over Havana.” As usual, I will be posting the subsequent batreps on this thread.
Okay, standby for something a little bit different, something I’ve been meaning to get to for quite some time, and something we’re going to have to step back in time for. Here’s the deal: my intent for this massive Imagi-Nation-type alternate history was always to have a bunch of ground fights, but also some air to air fighting, and perhaps even some naval fighting. If you’re reading this I’m sure you’re aware of the eighty-four (84) battle reports for ground fights I’ve posted for Cuba Libre. Now it’s time for some air fights.
I just bought a new set of air rules called “Lacquered Coffins,” a set of WWII rules that (as always) I’ve modified a bit to suit my purposes in order to use for ‘modern’ aircraft (can you still call F-4s and MiG-21s modern?). My changes are thus:
-I play solo, so I need to mix it up. Rather than IGO-UGO, I’m using cards (one card per aircraft, with the aircraft tied to a particular card) for activation. So I do the mandatory move for every aircraft, then move to cards.
-I shortened the range for guns (6, Long Range 8), gave them 2D6.
-I made missiles minimum range 5, good out to 12, Long range 16, 4D6. I gave each aircraft four missiles. I know F-4s can carry more than four missiles, so if you like it better, think of it as four shots of two missiles 😉 I also am not currently differentiating between IR and radar missiles, I’m just getting into some new rules and want some quick, fun games.
-I added deflection as modifiers, side and front quarter -2 (the game already has head-on and tail, which is assumed).
-I can’t remember if this is in the book or not, but when a plane is going down I have the pilot make a test to bail out.
-I’m using a hexboard with 1/600 minis, so 1″ in the rules equals one hex.
Everything else is as written.
This is an even up, 4 vs 4 matchup, which I plan to do a few times while I learn these new rules, before getting into various force sizes and initial deployments. All of these will be straight up fighter duels; perhaps someday I’ll branch out into other stuff, but that’s what interests me right now. I’m not sure how many fights I’ll play out for the War of Liberation; I’m hoping for around ten, but it could be more (if I’m really enjoying myself) or less (if I run out of planes/pilots). Right now I’ll be simply referring to these guys by callsign, i.e., Boxcar 01. As they prove themselves (by surviving!) I’ll become more invested and begin to actually start naming them and getting into personalia.
The board, north is up. I’m using a hexboard from the old game “Flight Leader” (you can actually see the name in the bottom right corner). CLA Air Force in the southwest (bottom left) corner, Castro Air Force in the northeast (top right). I’m using the relatively new set, “Lacquered Coffins,” modified slightly. The airplanes are 1/600; the CLA flight consists of F-4 Phantoms from PicoArmor, the Castro flight consists of MiG-21s from Tumbling Dice.
Hopefully it isn’t too off-putting, but in an effort to make it more clear to readers, I’m now photo-shopping the pics and putting in identifiers (1-4) for the aircraft and brushing in trails to show maneuvers.
To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
The fight was a lot of fun; it flows well, mixing things up with the cards for activation worked like a champ, and everything made sense. It took a bit longer than I’d like; yeah, that’s always the case with new rules, but I gotta tell ya, I don’t think that factored in a lot, as the mechanisms were very familiar. I think more of the time is spent with the maneuvering, then manipulating the dice for altitude, speed, and missiles, which is a little bit of a pain in the butt, but worth it. Let me know what you think of me doing the batreps with the blue and red trails and black numbers (I’m already writing the next fight up the same way).
Next fight up in this series is the second flight, Blackjack 01-04, on another vanilla fighter sweep, taking on four Castro-regime MiG-21s, though I should be posting batrep number five of Operation Rush Delivery first.
Jack20/04/2017 at 16:37 #60914
Very interesting! Cool to see LC adapted for modern, I think your changes are very sensible and sounds like they worked well! Certainly an exciting batrep! lots of tense moments and I liked your explanations for all the failed pilot checks (especially ” …lots of chatter on the radio, and he finds himself a bit disoriented…”)
I know that modern will be the next phase in our Air Combat range, but it may be a while until I get around to writing that ruleset, as I have a modern land game to finish and playtest first. Modern air combat is definitely on the cards though, I always loved playing Falcon 4.0 and would like to implement something along those lines – different air elements contending with air defense and each other for air superiority, often at BVR ranges (yes, beyond visual range ranges 🙂 )
I have a feeling speed and altitude will be less important in a modern air game – its not so much dogfighting, as radar fighting and jamming, and countermeasure management. jinking to avoid incoming missiles, trying to tell friend from foe on the radar, that kind of thing. So hopefully I can work out modern air combat in a way that means you don’t have to track speed and altitude as much – focus on the things that matter like radar, missiles, staying out of IADS range and altitudes, detection, avoidance, communication, etc.
I would also think that the majority of pilots in a modern game would know exactly what they’re doing – pilot checks for maneuvers may well be removed all together, perhaps with pilot quality being more important in avoiding missiles or radar management. I would also like to make this modern game playable solo, as I think it would suit that.
I also like ‘veteran’ over ‘good quality’ as well!
Look forward to seeing what else you come up with! 🙂20/04/2017 at 17:54 #60915
Nice report, and very easy to follow. 🙂20/04/2017 at 20:41 #60925
Tom – Thanks, I appreciate it, and I’m glad you liked it. I told ya I was going to buy the rules 😉 In any case, your modern adaptation sounds cool, and I’m sure I’ll take a look when it’s available, but the reason Lacquered Coffins is working for me is that I’m not looking for a modern aerial, BVR-type simulation, I was looking for an in your fact, down and dirty dogfight, WWII-style but with Hollywood jets and missiles. It works for me, but more appropriately, I think the rules are great for some WWII gaming, or some ‘throw reality out the window for some Maverick and Goose stuff’ like I just did. Lots of fun!
Vicki – Glad you liked it, and glad the format worked for you.
Jack21/04/2017 at 04:26 #60933
Easy to keep track of who was who, and exciting as well !!21/04/2017 at 14:51 #60968
Cool, thanks Old Man.
Jack22/04/2017 at 18:00 #61006
An interesting game and a vivid report. Well done and I hope you enjoy all such future games, even if they are at the expense of the true socialist Cuba! Thanks for posting this and making Migs and Phantoms go boom.
Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.22/04/2017 at 20:25 #61008
LOL !!! Plane go boom !!23/04/2017 at 18:56 #61034
Nice report Jack, looking foreward to the next one24/04/2017 at 01:55 #61044
Thanks guys, more exploding Phantoms and MiGs coming up Wednesday or Thursday, with next Operation Rush Delivery posting tomorrow.
Jack24/04/2017 at 01:57 #61045
The air ops make a nice change of pace.24/04/2017 at 17:58 #61064
Yep, they’ve been fun.
Jack27/04/2017 at 14:20 #61197
So it’s 0815 on 1 Feb 1990, and CLA aircraft are winging towards Castro’s Cuba from secret airfields in *REDACTED*, in support of CLA ground forces which have landed via parachute or amphibious assault. Two hours ago, Boxcar flight tangled with four MiG-21s of the Castro regime’s air force, which saw each side lose two aircraft in fierce dogfighting. CLA Air Force aircraft continue to execute near continuous sorties against ground targets, zooming in, bombing command and control centers, radar sites, grounded aircraft and their support facilities, moored ships and their port facilities, artillery and tank parks, ammunition and fuel storage, anti-aircraft sites, etc…, then heading back to rearm and refuel, then get back in the fight. Castro’s Air Force has managed to put another four MiG-21s into the air, and so Blackjack flight, consisting of four F-4 Phantoms, is vectored in to intercept the interceptors.
Red 01 and Blackjack 04 slash past each other, nose to nose. Red 03 recoils in horror as a Sidewinder destroys his wingman, Red 04 (not pictured); but he recovers quickly, pulling hard left, lining up a decent shot on Blackjack 04, and launching a missile. To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
Another fun fight, more coming up ASAP.
Jack27/04/2017 at 20:59 #6120327/04/2017 at 23:44 #61206
Another good one Jack !!!28/04/2017 at 06:10 #61208
Another riveting battle! great stuff!
From my time in the F-16 sim that is Falcon 4.0, there is one alarm when someone gets a lock on you, and another, more urgent alarm when a missile is launched at you:
At about 0:44 you hear the radar signature of the enemy aircraft getting a lock on you (each aircraft type usually has a unique audio indicator – probably not with 50s tech though…), and then at 0:49 thats the missile launch alarm – its not a sound you want to hear!
Look forward to more modern dogfights! perhaps a close air support mission with fighters protecting some ground attack aircraft against enemy interceptors?28/04/2017 at 16:23 #61235
Vicki – Thank ya, Ma’am, and I’m worried how long my creativity will hold out.
John – Glad you liked it buddy.
Tom – Cool video, thanks. Regarding changing the missions up, I’m sure I will at some point, but not yet. I like to play a slew of ‘samey’ games in a row with new rules in order to really work out all the kinks and cement them in my head. But I’ll get there.
Jack02/06/2017 at 14:00 #63867All,
So it’s 1415 on 1 Feb 1990, and CLA aircraft are winging towards Castro’s Cuba from secret airfields in *REDACTED*, in support of CLA ground forces which have landed via parachute or amphibious assault. There have been several sorties flown between with no contact, but six hours ago, Blackjack flight engaged four MiG-21s of the Castro regime’s air force, knocking three of them from the sky without losing any aircraft. Two hours prior to that, Boxcar flight tangled with four MiG-21s, with each side losing two aircraft in a fierce dogfight. CLA Air Force aircraft continue to execute near continuous sorties against ground targets, zooming in, bombing command and control centers, radar sites, grounded aircraft and their support facilities, moored ships and their port facilities, artillery and tank parks, ammunition and fuel storage, anti-aircraft sites, etc…, then heading back to rearm and refuel, then get back in the fight. Castro’s Air Force has managed to put another four MiG-21s into the air, and so Bruiser flight, consisting of four F-4 Phantoms, is vectored in to intercept the interceptors.
Looks like trouble for the good guys! To see the whole batrep, please check the blog at:
Alright, another fun and exciting fight! I’m very comfortable with the rules at this point (despite the two cases of allowing fighter maneuvers and then firing in the same turn), and I’ve got my system down in terms of playing, note-taking, and picture taking (despite missing one), so I’m ready to rock. So this is the last fight of Day 1 of the War of Liberation, and, as such, is the last of the ‘even up’ fights, where it’s four F-4s vs four MiG-21s, coming straight on at each other from opposite sides. From here on out it will all be randomized: number of aircraft in the engagement, speeds, altitude, and entry location. Also, I am adding in some spotting rules, so that will factor into the fight as well. You may think that’s odd, and sure, I suppose it is in terms of modern-era aircraft with radar, particularly operating at dogfighting range, but give me a break, I’m looking to play a fun game! So, all those factors will be randomized, and then they’ll have to deal with spotting too.Next fight coming right up.
Jack05/06/2017 at 15:48 #64105
So it’s 1115 on 2 Feb 1990, Day 2 of the War of Liberation, and CLA aircraft have flown several sorties over Cuba this morning without contact. However, a flight of fighter bombers is inbound to strike military targets near Havana when Castro-regime fighters are spotted. Boxcar 01 and 04 are flying escort and are diverted to intercept.
Once again, things not going so well for our freedom loving CLA Air Force pilots… To see the whole fight, please check the blog at:
Well damn, that didn’t go as planned. But damn are the rules working like a champ! The game was quick and fun, with much of the drama rolling around the spotting aspect, which immediately put the CLA pilots at a disadvantage they just couldn’t overcome, particularly given Cool Hand Raoul’s (Red 01) marksmanship.
Thus the first fight of Day 2 goes 0-1 to the bad guys, bringing the total tally to 8-5. Next up is the second fight of Day 2, so stand by.
Jack05/06/2017 at 16:06 #64106
Thanks for posting!
I need to get over to the Vault and buy Lacquered Coffins. It does track altitude, right? I have flight stands for Check your 6 so it wouldn’t be a problem.05/06/2017 at 16:35 #64108
Yeah man, six altitude bands and six speed bands. I’m really enjoying the rules, having tons of fun. I would say they’re not incredibly earth shattering, but they take some stuff you’re probably familiar with and shake it up a little which, for me, is making all the difference. I like where you take the pilot tests, how the lining up a shot takes some work, and I love the mandatory move, it really shakes things up and makes it feel more dynamic.
Jack05/06/2017 at 16:39 #64110
Thanks, Jack. I’ve been looking for air combat rules more suitable for a convention setting than Check Your Six, which I wore myself out running last year. (As an aside though, I do love CY6…just a bit heavy for convention use.)05/06/2017 at 16:39 #6411105/06/2017 at 17:26 #64114
More on this later !! Thanks Jack !!!05/06/2017 at 20:51 #64122
Nathaniel – I think these will fit the bill; as a solo player, I never could get the pre-plotted movement of CY6! to work.
Vicki – Yeah, they’re doing well.
Kyote – Hurry up!
Jack06/06/2017 at 02:36 #64135
Another 2 exhilarating battle reports! great work.
Your descriptions are 10/10 and always a blast to read. I’ve been watching Wings over Vietnam and I think we could attribute some of the failed pilot checks to not seeing where the enemy is and/or just not being able to maneuver into the right position to fire.
I would be interested in your spotting and current activation rules, spotting is something that is definitely important in air combat! you can’t attack (or react to) an enemy if you can’t see him…
The Defensive fighter maneuvers are there to be defensive which is why we don’t allow aircraft to fire during them. Things like Immelmans and Split-S take enough time that you’re not going to be able to line up a shot in that space of time, as opposed Offensive fighter maneuvers like Barrel-roll attacks or high and low yo-yo’s which are made to be part of an attack. 🙂
As an aside I’m gearing up to start work on a modern air combat game – beginning with Korea and ‘Nam era, so looking forward to trying that out. I ordered a few aircraft from tumbling dice to help me out – including F-4s and Mig 21s 🙂06/06/2017 at 14:03 #64157
Thanks a bunch, I’m glad you enjoyed them. Regarding the failed pilot checks, I think they work for the game, and certainly with the high speed and close range it makes sense to me that guys lose situational awareness, react just a hair late, and can’t get where they wanted to get. Regarding activation, all I’m doing is using regular playing cards. Each plane has a card, I shuffle them up, draw them out one at a time, and activate that aircraft (Blue 1, Red 3, etc…). Earlier I’d thought about giving more cards (though still only one activation) to Vets and Aces, but now I think that would make them too powerful (the + to tests and firing are pretty substantial already).
Spotting is just off the cough, nothing formalized or scientific. I use D100 and lay a percentage on, like “Blue 1 has a 65% chance of spotting Red 3,” so I roll and need a 46 or better. I’m no giving a bonus for being in the sun (I would in WWII games, but I figure radar would quickly sort that out), but I do make it harder to see someone below you, near the deck, figuring radar would have a harder time picking them up, and, of course, behind you is much tougher.
I’m with you on the fighter maneuvers, and agree wholeheartedly on the reasoning. I just screwed up 😉
I can’t wait to see what you come up with for moderns, and look forward to some batreps! I haven’t commented yet as I haven’t found time to read the whole thing, but your Hind and Seek #2 looks very impressive!
Jack06/06/2017 at 19:11 #64177
I’m up to speed now. Wow I love how this is working out….must not buy rules and aircraft……I still have 4 Leopard 1’s to build.06/06/2017 at 20:25 #64180
Ooh! More reports to peruse. I shall look at them tomorrow evening! Thanks Jack!
Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.07/06/2017 at 18:30 #64236
So it’s 1515 on 2 Feb 1990, and CLA aircraft are again on the prowl! Earlier this morning Boxcar 01 and 04 ran into three MiG-21s and came out on the short end, losing one aircraft to none for the enemy. Now we have Bruiser 03 and 04 (who is rated as a Veteran due to having two kills) closing in on three MiG-21s.
Damaged by an enemy missile, Bruiser 03 returns fire. To see the whole fight, please check the blog at:
Another good one, where the CLA pilots were again let down by their spotting skills, and though outnumbered and in a bad tactical situation, they held their own, downing one enemy bird and wounding another’s pilot, while losing one of their own. Bruiser 03’s pilot and weapons officer were quickly picked up by CLA ground forces. The war’s tally now stands at:
CLA Kills: 9
Castro Regime Kills: 6
Stand by for fight number three on Day 2.
Jack07/06/2017 at 18:54 #64237
Really enjoying these. 🙂
I’m probably wrong, but it feels to me that you aren’t identifying as much with one side in these games as you usually do. Maybe it’s the nature of air combat, or maybe I’m just imagining it.07/06/2017 at 19:57 #64243
I’m glad to hear you like them and are having a good time.
“…you aren’t identifying as much with one side in these games as you usually do.”
WRONG!!! I’m just not writing in there when I cheated! 😉
To be honest, I’ve only cheated once (and I haven’t posted that batrep yet, it’s coming up soon): the rules state that after Turn 6 you roll to see if the game continues or ends. Well, in one game I found myself in a situation where a CLA F-4 was on the tail of a Castro-regime MiG-21 and, well, let’s just say somehow I managed to roll a 6 for the game to keep going, and the CLA pilot was able to get the kill…
But to your point, I think the issue is that I haven’t named the pilots, I’m just using generic radio callsigns (Blackjack, Boxcar, and Bruiser 01 through 04). I think if I’d named them it would probably feel more ‘normal’ to you. I plan on naming the pilots after this campaign: I didn’t want to play this campaign, naming twelve (and possibly more, if replacements are needed) guys then having them all get killed. So I figured I’d just use callsigns for the War of Liberation, and when it’s finished I’ll name them, and we’ll follow them through the rest of their careers.
Anyway, thanks again Vicki!
Jack07/06/2017 at 20:57 #64245
Good one Jack, now if this was only Wildcats V Zeros over Guadalcanal !!!08/06/2017 at 00:52 #64256
Another great report! The losses aren’t too different between the factions… be interesting to see how this air war evolves!08/06/2017 at 14:08 #64276
Kyote – Yeah man, it’s coming, just too many projects going on.
Tom – It’s been pretty tight, but the CLA is starting to pull ahead. Some of that is luck, some of it is the fact that I’m progressing CLA pilots (Regular-Vet-Ace) but not Castro-regime pilots. I’ll see if I can get the next batrep posted tomorrow; I intend on playing 12 fights in the War of Liberation and I’ve already played seven, hoping to play the rest this weekend.
Then I’m going to take the survivors and divide them up into two different fighter squadrons; they’ll be the seasoned fliers (Aces/Vets/Regulars). Then I’ll fill the ranks out with newbies, and have them deploying in support of other CLA missions (Cronistria and South Leon, which have already started, Desert Storm is about to kick off, and then on into the future). It’s been a lot of fun, and, as alluded to above, I also plan on following a US Marine fighter squadron in WWII.
Jack08/06/2017 at 15:28 #64279
Woo Hoo Marines in Wildcats !!!!08/06/2017 at 22:34 #64288
Yeah man, it’s coming. Most of my inertia with the Marine campaign is simply having too many projects going on, but part of it all of a sudden not being particularly excited about my fictional stopover in the Dutch East Indies. I need to get over it and just push through so we can get to Guadalcanal, though that’s been a source of some frustration as well. Rather than keep it simple and just have my guys land on The Canal on 7 Aug 1942, I was excited about having them land on Tulagi, which is the location of the only real fighting during the initial landings (there were a few Japanese killed on Florida island as well, from what I understand), but I’ve been looking at photos of the terrain on Tulagi and it’s a real bastard. It looks like the real fighting happened on the east end of the island, and it’s pretty much a sheer cliff the Marines came upon from the rear and they were just cleaning out caves, no real maneuver, so now I’m not sure about Tulagi either…
Jack09/06/2017 at 01:43 #64295
I do understand The Dutch East Indies would be depressing to game. We get our butt kicked…by Japanese Paratroopers !!! Then take a old 4 stacker DD to Australia. Join up with the 1st Marine Div and head to Guadalcanal and the fighting on Tulagi was bad for the Para Marines, maybe the old China Marines could be reinforcements for the Para’s . Cave fighting was a big part of all the fighting in the Pacific so it will have to get played.
Any way I do understand and Oh Shiny can get in the way. I’m still going to read what every you post about.!!!09/06/2017 at 14:32 #64333
Yeah man, I gotta sit down and figure out my next move with the Marines, but I’ll definitely get there. Thanks bud!
Jack09/06/2017 at 14:35 #64334
So it’s 1815 on 2 Feb 1990, and CLA aircraft are performing their last sortie of the day. The Combat Air Patrol is looking for a fight, and things haven’t been going so well. Earlier in the day, Boxcar flight lost an aircraft without hurting the enemy, and then Bruiser fight traded planes with the enemy (1 to 1). Blackjack 01, 02, and 03 have been loitering just off the coast of Cuba when the call goes out that two Castro regime MiG-21s have been spotted.
I believe this is what you call a furball. One Phantom has already been damaged, multiple missiles in the air. To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
So, not exactly ‘Top Gun’ yet, but we’re getting there. Actually, I don’t want to get there, kills ratios of 10 to 1 don’t seem like much fun. But these games have been fantastic, and now it’s time to get to Day 3. Next fight coming right up.
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